Beyond compensation

It's sad to see the anguish of sharp employees who enjoy their work, work hard to hone their skills - and then are forced to leave because they're certain there is no obvious way to rise to another level.

Remember that a clear career path is much more than the issue of increased compensation - it could be a question of employees wanting a new set of duties and responsibilities.

Don't discount the importance of a job title to some employees. We all have egos - and even humble people like to have this need fulfilled. Perhaps your employees don't see working for your company as a solid, long-term career move.

So, if you're experiencing more than your fair share of departing employees, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • What can be done to have employees think of working for your company as a career - not just a temporary job? Have you clarified ways employees can reach their career goals at your rental business?
  • Is it possible that you do have opportunities for advancement for certain employees but you have not shared this information with them?
  • Do you have an effective training program? As I mentioned in the past, effective training and a real program for progress are essential to having employees view your company as a good place to invest years of their lives. Diagnose training needs and provide appropriate training. Remember, training is motivational.
  • Do you have a meaningful incentives program? Very important, and often overlooked, do you give enough positive reinforcement? It's shocking and discouraging for an employee to be super-achieving and grossly underappreciated.
  • Do you have a culture of rewards and a system that sets employees up for success? Develop and implement a true performance appraisal system. This is a vital ingredient. Employees need to know how they're doing very specifically. It's also important that management be trained in how to properly conduct performance reviews.

Remember to always spell out your expectations and talk your employee through the steps to success. And also realize that there are some employees who are happy to stay in their current position. Some employees are content with what they are doing and would not be happy to be pushed down a path. Be sensitive to their needs and to what they don't want.

No one wants to watch a very promising employee jump ship to a competitor or to another occupation because there isn't a clear career path at your company.

Dick Detmer is a nationally recognized consultant, lecturer and writer and has 35 years of experience in the equipment rental industry. He is the author of "The Guide to Great Customer Service" as well as "A Practical Guide to Working in an Equipment Rental Business." For consulting, on-site employee training or to order books, visit Dick can be contacted at or (309) 781-3451.

Creating clear career paths: Part one of how to create top-notch employees.